Inside the Middle East - Blog
February 14, 2008
Valentine's Day Rallies In Beirut
It was raining today in Beirut, and rival factions in Lebanon gathered on the streets of the country's capital to mourn their slain leaders.

In Martyr's Square, at the heart of the pristine, rebuilt center of Beirut, tens of thousands of March 14th supporters chanted and held up placards in honor of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, assassinated this day three years ago.



Meanwhile, in the southern suburbs of Beirut, there was a sea of umbrellas as Hezbollahs supporters showed their own strength in numbers on the day of the funeral of an accused terrorist mastermind who was killed in a car bomb in Damascus earlier this week.




There are many intertwined fault lines in Lebanon today.


One clash opposes the pro-Western, Siniora government against the pro-Syrian Shiite Hezbollah faction. This has has caused a seemingly intractable deadlock on the election of a Lebanese president and heightened sectarian tensions.

Another dangerous threat to Lebanon's stability: extremist Sunni forces, that came to the world's attention last June in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr El-Bared. They battled the Lebanese army for weeks and are suspected of planting roadside bombs targetting U.N. peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon.

And finally, the possibility of another Hezbollah-Israel war seems closer today than even a few days ago. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has vowed to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyeh and has blamed Israel for his killing. Israel denies any involvement.

Why the country has not yet descended into chaos may be down to the factional leaders, who are still in command of their followers. They may not see that it is in anyone's interest for another internicine conflict in Lebanon.

But what happens if the country's youth let their frustrations boil over?

What do you think of the events in Lebanon? Email us at mideast@cnn.com or add a comment below.
Another civil war in Lebanon is highly unlikely. Despite their differences, the Lebanese people are more united than ever. "Neighbors" who seek to keep other neighbors weak and in a state of perpetual war are those who are responsible for any divisions. The Lebanese people realize this. This strategy will not work again.
I feel that the funeral of Mginiye the all do accused terrorist was a pre-programmed scheadule perfectly accomplished by the syrian intelligence. Which in mostly would lead to a huge seperation between those two rallies because they almost had two events similtaneously and clash talks from both sides eg: nasrallah vs joumblat.

prodromos spyrides
Lebanon's struggle may lead to a civil war back again sooner or later IF not any treaty is been done! and what it seems that hizzbolla doesn't want any soulution to carry on.
two people will be responsible if there is a civil war in Lebanon.Jumblat and Jaajaa.these two are well known for their brutality during the civil war in Lebanon both of them should be tried for war crimes.Lebanon will be a safer place without them.these two criminals were fighting each other in the civil war both are Friends now, makes you wonder.
It is unrealistically optimistic to suggest that another Civil War in Lebanon is unlikely.
Despite the fact that factional commanders currently retain some portion of control over their constituents, the perception on the streets is that things are going to get much worst before they get any better.
Tensions are running very high in Lebanon and people are preparing themselves for what they feel is an inevitable outcome of the ongoing situation.
Civil War is thought to be closer than we may think
During Nahr Al Barid, the Lebanese Army proved it had capabilities not previously seen.

Now, neither Syria or Hezbollah want to provide the Lebanese more reason to feel they are capable of defending Lebanese territory. Even if UN troops would refuse to take part in a "civil war", their mere presence will still be more restrictive on Hezbollah than on Lebanese Army, particularly if the Army is perceived to be supporting the legitimate government. A civil war provides the Army with it's current leadership with too many opportunities to establish moral authority.

As much as he wants to attack Israel, I doubt Nasrallah would risk any change to status quo in Lebanon without some additional event that removes ability for either Lebanese Army or UN from a reaction.

More likely than civil war, I would expect attempts to elicit a violent response from UN forces to portray them as supportive to March 14, hoping it will lead to debate in France and Italy about being dragged into a civil war, and bring the peace keepers home. The Lebanese still can't do much to control south Lebanon on their own, particularly if Jumblatt and the Druze militia are behind them.
I don't know how a political party in any country can have such power to enable her to control any decision to go to war with another country. That would be called a jungle. Hezbollah needs to be disarmed and stop defying the majority of the Lebanese simply because they are backed the Iranian Defense and Finance ministries.
The one who should be responsible for war is the one who ignites it!and the only one capable of igniting a real war is Hezbollah the terrorists!we hate hezbollah at least for us 14 march supporters and we want to become a federal state because you cannot live with trash=hezollah
In a police state like Syria, killing by bombs is highly unprobable to succeed without the authorities' knowledge. However, Al Qaeda is actively involved in killing Shi'a in Iraq, it could also be behind targeting Lebanese Shi'a now...

Mr. Nisrallah demonstrated irresponsibility by making accusations before any investigation took place. Stirring the emotions of people to encourage them to be irrational simply demonstrates that this leader has no respect for his followers.
Lebanon is being exploited as a battleground for Syrian/Iranian vs. Israeli/American war of words. Unfortunately, words can and do turn into actual war, as seen in summer of 2006 and latest bombings. Poor the people of Lebanon, stuck down a hole they never dug.
What proof do we really have that this was Imad Mugniyeh--seems like a good way to smuggle a dirty bomb into Lebanon in a coffin.
Whoever blames the others for his misery, will never get out of it.
For the Lebanese to live in peace, is for them to unite first. As long as they are weak and divided everybody will play them like toys. And please don’t tell me that the leaders are keeping their followers under control. There is no control and this is starting with the leaders. Most of them are just scoundrels. I just hope that the army will always be there to prevent a civil war which is also not easy.
I truly believe that Hezballah was badly brused during last years war, and if they attempt to launch a new war, they we'll get crushed from both Isrealis and the Lebanese. the lebanese will not protect the shias this time, and there will be a backlash on hezballah.
As for a civil war, it is possible, but there can only be good from it. i believe it will be the end of hezballah.
I don't know whose laughing more, or louder...Israel or Syria. The politicians in Lebanon are a joke. Only 'foreign' powers gain from any of this.

Who exactly gave Nasrallah the right to make war on Israel in 2006? Who? The Lebanese government which he CLAIMS to be protecting (Lebanon is a Democracy, and its leaders are elected, and Hezbollah claims to be for the people of Lebanon), they never told him to do it. So who did, I ask?

Syria wants Lebanon back, or at least punished severely for kicking it out.

Israel wants Lebanon weak, or an ally.

Hezbollah wants control.

America wants to expand its toehold in the Middle East.

Lebanon, as a whole, wants to be left alone.

Aoun wants to be president, at the expense of everyone and regardless of consequences.

Iran wants to expand its influence, and get at Israel.

They should all just go away.
I don't believe the country's politics will ever change until a post- civil war generation comes into power. Similarly, putting an end to the confessional system would *possibly* put an end to feudalism and this reigning oligarchy. New politicians must emerge away from the rigning families, maybe one day shiites won't be voting for Hezbollah by default, druze won't be voting for Jumblatt's sbires anymore, and a political party with clear social, economic, and foreign policies would emerge.
It was all fine (for most Lebanese) when the goals of Hezbollah were in-line with the most of the Lebanese, i.e. kicking Israel out of South Lebanon. Now, it's a different story. Hezbollah have a much harder case to defend to keep it's advantage over the rest of the Lebanese factions and take fatal decisions on behalf of the country.

Luckily for them, they have Aoun who is craving for the presidency and is ready to do anything, ally with anyone, and say whatever to make it. It gives legitimacy to Hizbollah's cause on a national Lebanese Level. Sad for Lebanon, it for once had the opportunity to alienate Hizbollah and hopefully drag them into a more moderate policy that would benefit Lebanon.... But Aoun blew it off... It will be interesting to see the reaction of his supporting Christians during the next election.
hezbollah is not a terrorist organization,but they are defending against israealian violence,raping of shebaa farms,and hundreds of lebaneze people captured in their prisons.
I'm a lebaneze citizen
who suffered from the israelian aggression on south of lebanon.They killed thousands of children,women,and innocents.And whats the result?ofcourse,no one cares or even condemn this savagery aggression not only on people but also on the lebanese infrastructure,residences,and factories.
if the international community thinks that hezbollah is a terrorest organization then give us reasons and facts for this conviction.why they do not condemn israelian attack?they have used an unauthorized weapons and rockets,but for shame no one from those who call themselves "the security council"or" the international community" bothers themselves to pay attention and punish isreal.
seriously,my qustion is:should
we stay tie-handed and pave the way for the isrealians to keep attacking us every time they decide to start a new war on us?
if someone attacks somebody,should he defend for himself or not?
If the american politics,isrealians,and the europianias thought that hizbollah is a terrorist organization.then i confirm that:
1- Israealian are terrorist for killing mercilesly children in palastine and lebanon with unauthorized weapons and rockets.
2-American politicians are terrorist for supporting isrealian by giving her the equipments of war(weapons,rockets,encouragement and incorporeal support...)
3-the European policians are terrorist for keeping ,and maybe wittingly,blind and deaf of what happing around them.
Those who always call for human rights,liberty,and especially children rights are doubtfully liers.
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